A history lesson - Industrial disease claims in the construction industry
Asbestos compensation for diffuse pleural thickening - the engineers story
We successfully settled this asbestos-related diffuse pleural thickening compensation claim for David, from Gillingham, Kent. In his late 60s, David was still working as a heating engineer in Kent. His asbestos exposure mainly resulted from his work as a heating engineer in Kent, removing old asbestos lagging insulating boilers/heating equipment. He had significant respiratory symptoms, recently resulting in him cutting down his working hours.
David had a complicated employment history; 29 recorded employers over 50 years, mostly as a heating engineer in Kent. Therefore, for his compensation claim, we needed to carefully investigate to what extent any of those employments involved asbestos exposure that could have caused his diffuse pleural thickening. This required: a very full statement about his employment/asbestos exposure history, reviewing this once we received his Revenue employment record, requesting further tax records from the HMRC, then carefully analysing these to estimate periods of asbestos exposure. Only then could we calculate how any compensation claim for diffuse pleural thickening should be apportioned between different employers.
Investigations confirmed David’s main asbestos exposure happened intermittently during his employment as a heating engineer by Foster Warm Heating Ltd (now dissolved) in the early 1960s, and then almost daily as a heating engineer for the Ministry of Works at Chatham dockyards, Kent in the late 60s/early 70s. He occasionally came across old asbestos lagging in his later career as a heating engineer, but he was not then exposed.
Investigations established the relevant insurers and full letters of claim were sent. Both admitted liability.
Full medical records were obtained and checked against the client’s account of his diffuse pleural thickening, and a chest consultant instructed for the compensation claim. He diagnosed diffuse pleural thickening caused by asbestos exposure as a heating engineer. He accepted this had caused the reduction in his work hours. He considered there were significant risks of more serious/fatal asbestos diseases. We prepared and served a full schedule of losses, with supporting evidence, seeking compensation for diffuse pleural thickening, but seeking provisional damages to allow him to get more compensation later if he got a more serious asbestos-related disease, like mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis.
No offer was received, therefore we issued proceedings in the High Court’s asbestos list. We secured judgment for the compensation claim and an interim payment and a trial date was fixed. The defendants were allowed their own asbestos disease medical expert. He accepted the diagnosis of diffuse pleural thickening caused by his asbestos exposure as a heating engineer. However, he considered the claimant’s breathing problems were 50% due to other factors that would have caused him to reduce his working hours regardless and future asbestos disease risks beyond diffuse pleural thickening were modest.
We concluded that, the defendant’s medical evidence was stronger than ours and that at trial the judge might now only award him about £60,000 for his asbestos disease compensation claim. On our advice David decided to drop provisional damages to maximize the compensation he could recover now for his diffuse pleural thickening .
The medical experts consulted and prepared a joint statement, but stood by their original opinions.
A month before trial the Defendants offered £75,000 for his diffuse pleural thickening claim- already above our revised valuation of the case. However, on our advice, the client rejected this. Further negotiations led to a settlement of £110,000, almost twice the compensation the judge might have awarded.
The successful lawyer
This claim for asbestos-related diffuse pleural thickening compensation was dealt with by Jeremy Horton. He is a Solicitor and Partner in the firm, specialising in asbestos compensation claims in Kent, Medway, Essex & beyond. Jeremy is passionate about helping asbestos disease victims and their families achieve fair compensation as quickly as possible. He is the only APIL Accredited Occupational and Asbestos Disease Specialist solicitor in Kent, Medway, Essex, Surrey or Sussex. Jeremy can be contacted by email or on 01622 680415.
How can Brachers help?
Brachers are successful industrial disease solicitors in Kent. If you feel that you may have an asbestos compensation claim or any other industrial disease claim, then please get in touch and our experienced lawyers will take the time to understand your circumstances and assist you with next steps.
“Thank you so very much. We wish to thank you for all your hard work.”
- News & Events